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Three Most Memorable Museum Heists in History



Boston_Museum

 

Three Most Memorable Museum Heists in History

To celebrate the premiere of The Medusa Murders, we present the three most memorable museum heists in history.

The Boston Museum heist
In March of 1990, 13 men changed the city’s art historywhen they stole around 13 art pieces from Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Those 13 artworks, worth billions of dollars, were stolen by robbers, who managed to gain entry to the museum by pretending to be police officers who had come to the museum to investigate a disturbance call. They then tied up the guards, and got away with the artworks.

The two burglars were never identified and none of the works were ever found. It is widely believed that the town's mobsters were involved in the heist, with speculation that they may have intended to fund the IRA. A hefty reward is still in place for information about the stolen works, whose current value is estimated at $500 million.

The Mona Lisa heist
The Mona Lisa always captivated the audience and was the jewel of the French royal family and the republic that followed, where Napoleon began to hang it on the wall of his bedroom. But the modern heritage of the painting as the world's greatest work of art was probably consolidated when it was stolen in 1911 under dramatic and politicized circumstances.

This robbery dates back to 1911, when Vincenzo Peruggia, a small-time Italian art thief, quietly emerged from the Louvre in Paris with the famous painting of Mona Lisa neatly tucked under his clothes. Peruggia then used his handyman status at the museum to distance himself from the museum's usual staff. Then he waited until the gallery was empty and quietly fled with the famous painting of Da Vinci.

It is generally believed that this act of artistic theft catapulted the painting’s fame.

The Montreal Museum heist
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts witnessed a heist scene that seemed like a Hollywood film plot in 1972. The thieves managed to gain access to the roof via a nearby tree, before lowering a ladder left by construction workers, then the armed robbers lowered the rope in a skylight. They overpowered three guards and left the museum with about 50 works of art. The case is still unresolved and records show that the estimated initial loss was around $2 million.

One work of art was later recovered, but the remaining pieces are still missing. No suspect has ever been officially named in the case.

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